In 100% full operation ... Inability to respond to demand
No room to secure a line for research purposes
8 inch wafer production reduces from 19 times → 8
Likely to increase restrictions on new fable
Samsung Electronics will drastically reduce the 'Multi Project Wafer' (MPW) service that supports the production of semiconductor prototypes. It is interpreted that the company was not able to meet the significant increase in demand for semiconductor consignment production (foundry). There has been a bottleneck effect on the 8-inch wafer process has become more serious, which are mainly manufactured for semiconductors in vehicles such as power semiconductors and microcontroller units (MCU), and MPW services will be reduced by more than half by next year.
Samsung Electronics will reduce the number of 8-inch and 12-inch foundry MPW offerings next year. 8-inch foundry that provide the MPW shuttle was offered 19 times this year, and will be offered only 8 times next year. The 12-inch foundry was also reduced from 18 to 13 this year. Overall, this represents a decrease of 43% compared to the previous year.
The reduction in MPW production means that there is not enough room in the process line of Samsung Electronics' foundry. MPW, which is operated for the purpose of supporting the production of semiconductor prototypes for companies, research institutes, and universities, has become scarce as the actual mass production line has been in full operation. In the past, there were cases where the MPW business was not in full operation due to the small number of participating fabless; however, this time, the foundry bottleneck is the main cause, and the industry believes that the situation is different from the previous one.
It has been noticed that especially the mass production bottleneck of the 8-inch foundry line is extreme. The 8-inch foundry mainly manufactures vehicle semiconductors such as power semiconductors, power management semiconductors, MCUs, and display driving chips (DDI). The demand for 8-inch foundries has surged as the supply shortage of semiconductors has got worse to the point where automakers have setbacks in production. Most 8-inch foundries, including Samsung Electronics, maintaining 100% utilization and responding to the demand that they cannot afford to secure an MPW line for prototyping or research purposes. It is understood that the 8-inch line is the item of interest to focus on mass production of existing major customer products considering its profitability.
An industry official familiar with the MPW project said on the 1st, "I am aware that Samsung Electronics' 8-inch foundry situation is not favorable. We are responding to the demand for MPW that produces simple prototypes, but we are not comfortable with new businesses that require actual mass production.” If semiconductor fabless goes to mass production through MPW, there is a difficulty in securing an additional 8-inch foundry line.
As Samsung Electronics, the largest 8-inch foundry in Korea with a monthly production of 300,000 products, reduces the MPW supply, the difficulties in the fabless industry are expected to aggravate further. This is due to small-scale fabless semiconductor development and prototype production are limited.
<Glossary> Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) = Prototype of semiconductors for several customers on one wafer or services for making multiple prototypes for one customer. The foundry provides semiconductor fabless to universities, and research institutes that lack R&D and prototype development capabilities. The foundry pays a part of money, but the government recently subsidized part of the costs.
By Staff Reporter Dong-jun Kwon (firstname.lastname@example.org)